Global Futures: Using technology to help humans flourish

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Edith Law is a Professor at the Cheriton School of Computer Science, where she co-directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. Her research delves into social computing technology, machine intelligence interactions, and the design and user experience of technology that upholds important human values.

Professor Law explains how we can harness the power of new technologies ethically for the betterment of humanity.

Opinion by Professor Law

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) goes beyond technology development to critically assess how technology impacts people’s lives. It shapes the future of computer science by making us question when and how technology advances society and the economy amidst our rush for rapid innovation.

In my work in HCI, I’ve developed projects exploring technology’s role in well-being and how technology-mediated coordination can have an impact on realizing our values and steering society's future. My research leads me to appreciate the importance of blending human and machine intelligence to achieve results neither can attain independently.

In collaboration with a neurologist at Sunnybrook Hospital, we designed a platform for sleep pattern analysis. This study revealed the nuanced nature of human categorization and how vital human intervention can be to collecting research data. It uncovered the pressing need for AI systems to handle ambiguity, especially in health-related tasks.

One ongoing project, in collaboration with Ontario Health, aims to develop a health navigation platform that connects newcomers with organizations. This app addresses social determinants of health, including employment, transportation and social connections, to improve the newcomer’s well-being and belonging.

photo of Professor Edith Law

Edith Law directs the Augmented Intelligence Lab and co-directs the Human-Computer Interaction Lab. She is broadly interested in social computing technology that coordinates small groups to large crowds, new models of interactions with machine intelligence, and how technology can be designed to foster and celebrate certain human values.

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